Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ABCW: C is for...

This week's ABC Wednesday letter is C.

Carved out of an old tree stump in a local park...

 Carved into the sand by water flowing into the sea...

Carved on my heart are my two amazing daughters...

Have a wonderful Wednesday!! And have fun exploring what others have done with the letter C on the ABCW website!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saturday photohunt: Fluffy

The Saturday Photohunt this week is FLUFFY.  Now I could post pics of my uber-fluffy big boy cat Winston...or I could post pics of some fluffy reading material (for which I am kind of thirsting, I must admit, since all I have read in months are textbooks!)

But instead I have decided to post some fluffy flora photos...

Azaleas in Halifax's Public Gardens

Fluffy trees and field near Cetona (sigh...Tuscany...)

Blossoms on a tree in the south end (aka home of the rich and famous, relatively speaking) of Halifax

Look! Fluffy trees! This is a spot in Umbria, somewhere between Montegabbione and Montegiove, that felt like an enchanted forest to Mom and I.

My mom's spectacular rhododendron bush

More plants in the Public Gardens. I really love the texture and shades of this plant...if anyone knows what it is, please share your knowledge by leaving a comment - thanks!

Pop on over to the Saturday Photohunt page
and see what other fluffy photos you can uncover!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ABCW...brought to you today by the letter "B"

This week's ABC Wednesday letter is B.

Given my crazy schedule this term, I am tempted to say B is for Busy...see you next week!

But I won't! Fortunately I love the path I am on right now, so the busy-ness is not a burden, although it does stretch my organizational and balancing skills! But I digress...my post this week is actually about Bread. In particular, the breaking of bread.

Last term I was on my school's chapel worship committee for one of the weeks when communion (aka Eucharist) was scheduled. We planned a service where we literally gathered at table together. One fellow student was anxious because she was used to a more structured service and she wasn't exactly sure how things were going to flow. We hadn't provided anyone with a service bulletin...we decided to try just being weird Christians together. Hey, the disciples didn't have a bulletin, why should a bunch of divinity students need one?! 

This was the first time I had the privilege of breaking the bread and pouring the wine. Which may not sound very exciting to some of you, but as a candidate for ordered ministry, it was an incredible joy for me. Bread of life, cup of salvation...all is ready, praise be to God. (To be clear, an ordained minister was present, who called upon the Holy Spirit to be upon us and upon these gifts, as required for the sacrament of communion in the United Church of Canada.)

The chapel, as students and faculty began to gather...it is a beautiful space, I love the vaulted wooden ceiling and the way the natural light pours in.

 Soon everyone was seated, then we sang and prayed and told the stories of our ancestors, recalled Jesus' life, death and resurrection...served each other as we broke bread and shared in the wine and the grapes. Then we also shared some of our own faith stories before heading back to classes.

"C" you next week!! Be sure to check out the other ABCW posts, there are some amazingly creative bloggers participating in this challenge!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Photohunt: Bliss

Time for another Saturday photohunt!

The theme this time around is Bliss. I have several photos in my collection that reflect moments of bliss, but this one really captures my heart. It is my mother enjoying her morning beverages on the terrace of "our" house in Cetona (the house we rented for our home base in Tuscany last August. We hope to return to this wonderful house and town, and highly recommend it to others. Details in the owner's Homelidays listing # 302226 .)

Mom loved her mornings on the terrace, soaking in the morning sun, gazing over the stunning view of Monte Cetona and across the valley to Citta delle Pieve in Umbria, and the wonderful landscape in between. She would exchange greetings with our neighbours as they went about their morning routines. I snapped this photo from the little balcony off my upstairs room.

We are both so glad that I discovered the SlowTravel website and philosophy a few years ago. Instead of moving all over the place trying to see everything on one trip, the slow travel philosophy is to experience one area deeply. To linger in one place and let the wonder and beauty of the land shimmer before your eyes...to let the people, the culture, the history flow into your soul...is an experience that changes you. It is profoundly rejuvenating to let yourself follow the local rhythm, get to know your neighbours, find amazing hidden corners you would otherwise miss.

Click on over to the Saturday photohunt website and check out more blissful photos!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ABC Wednesday

My blog friend Annie told me about a meme called ABC Wednesday, in which she and Kathy (another of our blog friends) participate. So I thought I would join them...insofar as I can manage it around the demands of school and student ministry. I gather that the meme is not restricted to photos, but nonetheless, I will start off with a photo collection!

A is for...Arches. Especially old stone archways as found in the streets of towns in Italy. A friend of mine says that I was surely Italian in a previous life, because I am so drawn to this place...it's like the ancestral home of my heart and soul. Here are a few photos I took on my most recent visit, my fourth and hopefully not last, although having recently given up my public service career to follow Jesus into ministry means I am a poor student for the next four years, and have no money for oversea trips (unless, of course, someone wants to "hire" me as a travel planner and tour guide...hint to my mom! lol)

The photos were taken in Cetona, Tuscany; Monteleone, Umbria (I think); Ferrara; Assisi; and a final one of the living room of the house we rented during our two weeks in Cetona. Enjoy!!

I invite you now to settle into a comfy chair and surf on over to Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday site, where you will find links to many more fabulous and creative posts!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Italian fauna

My last post got me thinking about all the cats we saw wandering around in Italy last summer. Cats...and other beautiful creatures!

"You can't see me..." says this cute little bunny hiding under an old piece of farm equipment...

This gorgeous boy playfully lolled around in the shade of a big flower pot...a perfect spot to rest in the heat of the day!

Mom and I are both cow people (you know, like cat people or dog people...only with cows! lol) So we were enchanted to pass this magnificent herd of gentle Chianina cattle on the road between Montichiello and Cetona. This breed is one of the oldest in the world, dating back over 2,000 years.

Cetona is full of surprises...like these roosters who lived in a coop in the old town wall, just down from our rental house.

This friendly old kitty almost blends into the stone steps! He did rouse himself to come and say hello to me, and rub his head against my legs, while I was exploring the immediate neighbour before the church service began.

Frolicking colts in a field beside Abbazia di Spineto. There were lots of adult horses too, but these young ones were adorable!

Driving along the Strada Provinciale di Sarteano toward Radicofani...we came upon this herd of sheep. They were in no hurry to get out of our way either! These mountain sheep were quite different from what I am used to, they were larger and also had tails.

"Hello! May I join you for dinner?" 

When we ate at the restaurant in Bagno Vignoni, this sweet kitty sat at my feet almost the entire meal. So cute...but I fear she went away without a morsel off my plate. (Dave has me well trained apparently...NO feeding pets at the table! lol)

Ahhhh...la dolce vita!

Slightly blurry pic of a stunning husky by the castle in Sarteano. He did not make a sound, or really even acknowledge our passing, as we went by, which was most unusual for a dog, I thought.

A gorgeous cat in Sarteano.

This handsome guy was keeping an eye on the grounds of the convent of Scarzuola, near Montegiove, Umbria.

A striking looking cat in Parrano, Umbria. She soon left this perch and gracefully made her way down the wall to find a spot free from tourist cameras...

Feed me...feed me!!!! This little guy went from table to table in the cafe in the Villa Borghese in Rome. He was very lively and cute, but I did not give in to those big brown eyes!

And now I have in my head a fun song we've sung in church a few times, complete with hand puppets and fake animal noises! I think it was written by Bill Staines...

All God's critters have a place in the choir

Some sing low, some sing higher

Some sing out loud on the telephone wire

And some just clap their hands, or paws

Or anything they got.

 Good times :)

Photohunt: Circular

This week's photohunt theme is circular.

When mom and I stayed in Cetona (in southern Tuscany) last August, we came across this content little (or rather not so little!) kitty curled up in a basket that was tucked inside a doorway off Piazza Garibaldi. There were lots of cats in Cetona, many were wild...sort of. Francesco (one of the owners of the house we rented) would wander down to a particular spot each day by the old town wall and set out food. One of the cats even wandered into our house from time to time! I'll post a few more Cetona cat pics later :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Photohunt: Bling

It's photohunt time again! This week's theme is *BLING*!!

This is my bling...

The twist tie with which my husband proposed almost 25 years ago! Yes, I still have it. Yes, we're still married! (Married with children, in fact...although fortunately Dave is nothing like Al Bundy and I have yet to start wearing leopard print leggings a la Peg Bundy! lol)
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